Think modern rustic with a touch of dark industrial glamour and you get the picture of homeowner, blogger and interior designer Sharon Hornsby’s natural decorating style. She has spent the past three years turning what was formerly a workman’s live-in garage, built in 1912, into a light and bright five-bedroom family home for her and her husband Jim, a pilot and their three children, Liberty 18, Isobel 13, and Tom 12.

‘We’ve renovated lots of houses before but this was our biggest project yet,’ she says, ‘The location was just so good. It is only five minutes walk to the centre of the village and it has such a big garden. Even though the house itself was way too small for us and a bit dark and gloomy, I knew what I could do to make it right. It had such a lovely feel to it that we offered the asking price there and then.’

Sharon then set to work planning the renovation of the whole house, concentrating particularly on her kitchen space which shc knew would be the heart of all family life. The main work involved a ground-floor single-storey extension with a vaulted ceiling to house the new kitchen-diner. ‘The builders knocked openings into walls, built new stud walls and added a wood burner and double doors. We wanted an open-plan living area where we could sit and read and as this area was very dark we added a large skylight to let the light flood in. In the end, the whole  layout of the downstairs has changed, with only the entrance and cloakroom bathroom remaining the same.’

Even though the kitchen space created is now a very open and sociable space, there are still lots of nooks for the family to retreat to separately. With the clever use of reclaimed wood and brick as well as other natural materials - Sharon is a big fan of plants and layers of tactile textures such as sheepskin rugs and throws - a cosy feel is maintained throughout. ‘At the front of the house it looks fairly small and almost everyone who comes through the door says the space is so unexpected that it’s like a Tardis!’ says Sharon, ‘I love that around lots of corners in our home there is something a bit quirky or unexpected.’ 

Using cupboards with a premium carcass of poplar wood from British Standard, the owners created the old-meets-new look with re-conditioned boards of salvaged oak on the front of the island. The rest of the cabinetry is painted in Farrow & Ball Railings, with drawer pulls and handles in a traditional Shaker style.

41 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB.
Tel 020 7297 6220.
Kitchen prices start at £500 per cupboard.

Q&A with Sharon Hornsby, homeowner, interior and product stylist

Were there challenges in deciding to design and fit your own kitchen?
I had designed it off the plans before the extension was built so to make it work we actually had to take 10cm off the extension, which was not factored for. We also had to fit the units against an uneven brick wall, which was resolved by the builders building breeze blocks up to cupboard height and then using bricks. When plastered, the units then sat flush against the wall.

Are there stand-out features that you particularly love?
The salvaged brick wall is a big feature for me, and adds a wonderful warmth to the room. I also love the craftsmanship of the cabinetry and the dovetail-jointed drawers. I had always wanted a solid wood kitchen and it has not disappointed, the quality is exceptional. I also couldn’t live without the Rangemaster induction range cooker now, the electric hob has been a revelation. The bifold doors were also worth every penny. Opening them up in the good weather is just lovely.

How practical is the design?
This is a family kitchen so we wanted it be a big sociable space. Creating a separate larder and sink area means that the kitchen stays clutter-free, and the use of pan drawers is great for storage. Having the dishwasher tucked away also means that it can’t be heard in the dining or open-plan area at all. The island with stools at one side works well, with the sink separating the two zones.


Rangemaster Elise 100 Induction range cooker in stainless steel, approx £2,300, John Lewis. BFL634GSIB Serie8 microwave, £689; and SMS40A08GB Serie6 dishwasher in stainless steel, approx £450; both Bosch. GSL760PZXV side-by-side American fridge-freezer, £970, LG. Navitis pull-out spray tap, approx £130, Caple. GN1100 hot water tap in chrome, approx £549, InSinkErator.

British Standard cabinetry, from £500 per cupboard. Kitchen painted in Farrow & Ball Railings. All handles sourced from Ironmongery Direct. Bushboard Encore 27mm solid surface worktop and splashback in Ice Slimline, priced from £284 for a splashback, Titan 1 pendants in natural aluminium (above the island), £235 each, Original BTC at Large white beaded chandelier (above the dining room table), £198, Graham & Green. Kitchen and larder wall lights, from a selection at Dowsing & Reynolds. Midas bar stools, £125 each; and black hanging chair, £235; both Rockett St George. Connor sofa, £799,

Prices correct at time of publication

Photos by: Cathy Pyle

Article by: Ciara Elliott